ronniemcbrayer300 orangeKENTUCKY (6/7/14) — Sharing faith, in Christian terms, is known as 'evangelism.'

This is the English rendering of a Greek word meaning “to proclaim the good news.” That’s a problem, because the news isn’t always good.

There was a subtext to the evangelization method I was taught that went something like this: “God is really ticked off with you. He’s mad as hell – literally. And if you don’t pray this prayer, believe the way I believe, and don’t hurry to the baptismal waters as quickly as possible, then he will likely strike you dead before I’m finished talking to you.” I would then scurry away before God’s vengeance fell like fire on the sinner and I was caught in the collateral damage.

Again, there wasn’t much good news in such confrontations, because there was no sharing of God’s love. Love? Forget it. God didn’t love, God hated. God didn’t invite, God demanded. God didn’t plead, God prosecuted. God wasn’t pursuing wayward children as a heartbroken parent; God was dogging hardened criminals like a trigger-happy bounty hunter, a ready execution order in his hip pocket.

I no longer share with others my faith in an angry, perpetually irritated God who only wishes to stamp out humanity because I no longer believe in such a Deity. In light of Jesus, and the love of God he came to reveal to the world, evangelism can radically change. We are now “compelled by love,” to employ a phrase from Paul.

We share our faith not to coerce, force, intimidate, or to instill terror. We share our faith because of and for love’s sake – the only worthy compulsion. We have learned that God loves us, remarkably so, and loves our neighbors with equal measure. This love changes us; cures our dysfunction; and gives us new life. It really is “good news.”

This reminds me of an ancient story about a man named Demosthenes, a skilled orator from Greece. But he was not always a skilled wordsmith. As a young man he had a terrible speech impediment. This became painfully evident when his inheritance was stolen and he had to argue his case in open court.

His speech was so bad, they gave him an ambiguous nickname in the Greek, meaning either “stutterer” or “sphincter” (While neither is flattering, I prefer the former over the latter). He was laughed out of the courtroom. But Demosthenes was determined. He secluded himself in a cave and began studying the methods of the great orators of the past.

He stuffed rocks in his jowls, a crude form of speech therapy, forcing himself to slow down when he talked. Then he shaved off one side of his facial hair so that he would be too embarrassed to go into public. That way, he had to remain in isolation practicing until his hair grew back, and would face no one until he was properly prepared for the task. This would be a good practice for most of us.

Before we breathe a word about the gospel or “good news,” we should be properly prepared. What is the proper preparation? Well, it’s not about having all the theological answers or a collection of “gotcha” responses to objections. It’s about having God’s love consume our hearts. When we can share the love of God by speaking of the ever-loving Christ, while loving those to whom we speak, only then are we ready to open our mouths, and not a minute sooner.

If we must, we will shave our heads and hide our faces. Let us go live in a secluded cave, if need be. Maybe we should stuff our mouths full of stones (or at least cover them with duct tape). It would simply be a good idea not to speak a word about religion, church, God, or the gospel until love is the means, message, and motivation for everything we say.

If we can shut our mouths for just a little while, it just might open our hearts – to the love of God – which really is “good news” for all.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Aces Pull Away for Win over Mustangs

GREENVILLE, Ky. (4/24/15) — Owensboro Catholic pitcher Jacob Mulcahy pitched a complete game as the Aces defeated the… Read More

Webster County Traffic Advisory

WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (4/25/15) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close a section of Kentucky 132 in Webster… Read More
1 DOW 18,080.14
+21.45 (0.12%)    
2 S&P 2,117.69
+4.76 (0.23%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,092.08
+36.02 (0.71%)    

Most Read This Week

April 17, 2015 11640

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 7190

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 5719

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 20, 2015 4825

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 22, 2015 3966

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 22,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 11640

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 02, 2015 8776

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 24, 2015 3730

UPDATE: Police Can't Substantiate Injured Man…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 23, 2015 746

Regional Eighth Grade Math Contest Held

by Joyce Riggs
April 24, 2015 685

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by Karen McKnight
April 24, 2015 663

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 611

Probation and Parole Violators - April 24, 2015

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 596

Baptist Health Holds ‘Walk in the Park’ as Part…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 528

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 520

Career Fair Provides Students Information about…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 512

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 24, 2015 437

KSP Charges Franklin County Man with…

by SurfKY News